The journey to Super Bowl 58 begins on Thursday, Sept. 7 when the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs host the rising Detroit Lions at 8:20 p.m. ET. The interconference matchup will be the first of several must-see games in 2023 that feature Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Andy Reid against the best teams aiming to knock them off.
Other top projected contenders, including the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals, make up a heavy chunk of my prime must-watch games for the 2023 NFL season. The New York Jets have not appeared in the playoffs in the last 12 years, yet they will also draw significant national interest in some of their key games this year.
Let’s look at the NFL schedule to find my top 10 football games to watch this season.
Top 10 NFL Games To Watch This Season
1. Philadelphia Eagles @ Kansas City Chiefs
Week 11: Monday, Nov. 20 (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC)
By Week 11, we will have a good read on whether these teams will fully live up to the advance billing of a Super Bowl 57 rematch.
Some notable offseason personnel losses may weaken the Eagles, yet they should still be a playoff contender, and this will likely be a crucial matchup as Philadelphia eyes a postseason berth.
Kansas City has won the last four meetings between the two teams, including last season’s Super Bowl win. Philadelphia won seven of eight away games last season, so the Eagles should be ready to handle one of the NFL’s most challenging road environments.
2. Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31 (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
What a way to finish the calendar year, revisiting the last two AFC Championship Games. AFC playoff seeding could be on the line here to determine which of these teams hosts the other in a postseason meeting not too long afterward.
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Three points separated these teams in two meetings last season, as Cincinnati prevailed during the regular season to beat Kansas City for the third consecutive time, including the playoffs.
3. San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3 (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)
This should be an important later-season matchup in terms of NFC playoff seeding. The 49ers will be hungering for revenge after quarterback injuries killed their chances to hang with the Eagles in last season’s NFC Championship Game.
The 49ers have the best-looking roster in the NFC outside of the quarterback position, and with three viable in-house options in Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold, any issues at QB should be solved by the time they visit Philadelphia.
4. Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10 (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
The schedule-makers have attempted to be kind to the Chiefs, as you have noticed by now that they have home-field advantage in their three biggest projected matchups of the season. This is another late-season game that should notably impact the AFC playoff picture.
If the Bills want to fend off a growing perception that they can’t win big games, prevailing on the road again here would be a good warmup feat before the postseason. Buffalo knows it can win at Kansas City after coming away with regular-season victories at Arrowhead the last two seasons.
5. Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5 (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
Two of the AFC’s top contenders square off here in a marquee battle between two of the game’s best quarterback-wide receiver combinations. All NFL fans and fantasy football players will be tuned in to see Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase trade offensive punches with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs.
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Buffalo will have this game highlighted on its virtual calendar after Cincinnati decisively knocked off the Bills on the road in last season’s AFC Divisional Round.
6. Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10 (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
We have not seen a repeat winner in the NFC East since the 2004 season. The Eagles will look to become the first team to win consecutive division titles since they pulled off the trick two decades ago.
Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy are under heavy heat to deliver a deep playoff run this season, and winning a decisive late-season game at home against a hated rival could be a launching pad to potentially reaching seemingly elusive goals.
7. New York Jets @ New York Giants
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 29 (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
This local rivalry will stir newfound electricity, as the long-downtrodden Jets should challenge to be the better of the two teams this season.
Aaron Rodgers can further stake his claim to being the new King of Broadway by leading the Jets to a win that will help shed their hometown inferiority complex.
8. Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Week 1: Monday, Sept. 11 (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC)
The first Monday Night Football game of the season will be a huge one for the retooled Jets, as they will get an immediate opportunity to make a statement about their potential to unseat Buffalo at the top of the AFC East.
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Buffalo has won five of the last six meetings between the teams, and downing the Jets to open the season could show the Bills aren’t going to cede divisional supremacy despite all the offseason headlines the Jets have generated.
9. Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8 (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
One of the biggest rivalries in the game will again take center stage, as both historic franchises will view this as a telling earlier-season matchup. Dallas will be geared up to show it can indeed topple another NFC power as it eyes a season-long quest to erase too many recent tales of ultimate failure.
The Cowboys have lost playoff games to the 49ers the past two seasons, and scrubbing themselves of the stench of those defeats would be a notable marker on the way to achieving more significant results.
10. Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 13: Monday, Dec. 4 (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Jaguars are gunning to vie with the best teams in the AFC this season, and winning a later-season game against a prime conference opponent could certify them as a genuine threat to win the conference championship.
A victory over the Bengals can also position them more favorably for playoff seeding.
More Top NFL Matchups to Watch in 2023
- The Jaguars will host the Chiefs in Week 2, hoping to demonstrate that their admirable playoff showing last season was for real.
- The new-look Jets will take on the Eagles at home in Week 6.
- A Bills-Chargers matchup in Week 16 should carry significant playoff implications.
- Jacksonville meets Buffalo in another high-profile AFC clash in Week 5.
- Dolphins-Chargers is one of the best games of Week 1.
- Top rookie QBs face off when Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers host C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans in Week 8.